Girls of Riyadh and desperate in Dubai: reading and writing romance in the Middle East

Amy Burge, Sandra Folie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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In this chapter, we look closely at these two examples of Muslim chick lit novels from the Middle East – both ‘Arabic best-sellers’– and their relationship to genre, narrative, and audience. Our focus is on the way these texts respond to and challenge the representation of Arab-Muslim women in popular romantic culture through their articulation of genre tropes. The originally intended local readership of both novels makes them excellent sources to examine their relationship to western foremothers, articulation of narrative forms, and audience identification. Drawing on close readings of each novel, interviews with the authors, and reviews, we argue that these novels respond to genre tropes in ways that do not privilege Anglo-western models and, in the process, present an alternative model for representing Arab-Muslim women in romantic culture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Companion to Romantic Love
EditorsAnn Brooks
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781003022343
ISBN (Print)9780367900694
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Companions to Gender


  • Muslim women
  • Chick Lit
  • Romance
  • Publishing


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